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2013 New York City Marathon

New York City Marathon

Earlier this month I covered the 2013 ING New York City Marathon for the NY Times. It was nice to cover the official race again as last year it was cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy. This year I was assigned to cover the 1-mile stretch of the course in The Bronx at about Mile-20 as runners crossed the Willis Avenue Bridge from 1st Avenue in Manhattan and back over the Madison Ave Bridge into Manhattan.

New York City Marathon

It was clear security was much heavier this year as the course was guarded from blocks away from the actual course. Luckily, I was on a scooter and was able to snake through the snarled NYC traffic. I parked my scooter near the Madison Avenue Bridge and walked across the bridge into The Bronx. As it turned out I’d arrived quite early as I had to wait about an hour for the leaders to pass.

New York City Marathon

It was fun to chat with and see all the various supporters from local cheerleaders, a Japanese drumming team, bands, firefighters, and local residents cheer on the runners as they passed.

New York City Marathon

New York City Marathon

2013 New York City Marathon

2013 New York City Marathon

2013 New York City Marathon

2013 New York City Marathon

I made my way to the Willis Avenue Bridge and eventually spotted a building that gave me a great vantage point to make an overall shot and transmit my photos to the paper. It was worth the hike to the roof as the photo quickly made it to the NYTimes.com homepage!

2013 New York City Marathon

2013 New York City Marathon

2013 New York City Marathon

I made my way back to my scooter over the first bridge and got back home to the Upper West Side where I transmitted once more before hitting Central Park as evening approached. I entered the park around 90th Street and walked toward the finish line at around 67th Street. As I made my way closer I was swarmed by Marathon finishers attempting to find their belongings and way out of the park.

2013 New York City Marathon

2013 New York City Marathon

2013 New York City Marathon

2013 New York City Marathon

2013 New York City Marathon

2013 New York City Marathon

2013 New York City Marathon

2013 New York City Marathon

One of my favorite parts of covering the Marathon is seeing the runners cross the finish line as it’s a very emotional moment for them. Overall, I had a great time covering this year’s race!

2013 New York City Marathon

12 Nov 2013

Boylesque 101 – Probably Not Safe For Work

Boylesque Dancing Class

About a month ago I was on a shoot and received a phone call from my editor pal at the New York Times Styles Desk about an assignment the following day. Given that I was in the middle of another shoot, the call was quick and all I really remembered was the words “burlesque class tomorrow in Williamsburg”. I said, “sure, send me the info.”

The next morning I took a more detailed look at the assignment slip and realized it was a little different than I’d envisioned:

Instructions: The rise of “Boylesque” — that’s burlesque dancing for guys. There’s a class happening this Sunday in Williamsburg. Need scenes from the class, there will be 8 pupils. ***Please creatively frame the photos so that there is no blatant nudity.****

Ohhh…. BOYlesque, not BURlesque! And avoid blatant male nudity? Oh my, what did I get myself into?

I made my way to Williamsburg, Brooklyn and found myself in a large warehouse-style building searching for the dance studio within. I finally found the space, which turned out to be a very small studio with 9 sweaty men sporting only jock straps or thong underwear. Oh yeah, the room was hot, moist, and smelled like sweaty balls.

Boylesque Dancing Class

When I arrived the undressed men were sitting in a row of chairs watching as each student took a turn performing a short routine in which they pretended to give a striptease while taking off imaginary clothes. They were wearing only thongs for this portion. The goal was to get the rest of the group to guess what character they were representing and what sort of imaginary clothes they were taking off.

Boylesque Dancing Class

Boylesque Dancing Class

Boylesque Dancing Class

Boylesque Dancing Class

Afterward, the instructor provided various props and costumes that the students were to use for a striptease routine. Though only three students gave their OK for me to shoot, I still I got quite enough to work with.

Boylesque Dancing Class

Boylesque Dancing Class

I will say, though, the toughest part of this assignments was having to kneel behind the sweaty butt cracks of the seated students in order to frame the photo and hide myself from reflecting in the mirror. I won’t soon forget this assignment…

Boylesque Dancing Class

Boylesque Dancing Class

Boylesque Dancing Class

16 Nov 2012

NYC Saint Patrick’s Day Parade 2012

Today I decided to wake up early on the weekend and head to midtown on my bike with my wife and photograph some of the activity around the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade. Normally I try to stay as far away from Fifth Avenue parades as possible, but I felt motivated this morning. Also, this was not for an assignment, rather just for ourselves, so there was no stress with deadlines or editor’s expectations. We decided to  concentrate on the activity around the parade because in order to get a good spot, we would have to stay in one place and not move…this way we got to roam and see all the participants of the parade warming up for the before the parade started.

It was fun, but as the start time approached, more and more highly intoxicated revelers began pouring out of bars, which wasn’t so fun. Anyhow, I hope you like my take on the parade!

17 Mar 2012

The New York City Triathlon

As a freelancer, I’m always waiting for the phone to ring because a ringing phone usually means work’s calling. It’s always nice to hear the familiar voice of a photo editor on the other end asking my availability. The only thing that spoils it is when they pre-empt the assignment pitch with “So you’re an early riser, right?” delivered in a tone closely associated with a mischievous grin . I answered with “Oh boy…what’s the assignment and how early?…”

As it turned out, the next morning was the NYC Triathlon and the New York Times wanted one nice photo of the event for the paper. Given triathlons consist of swimming, biking, and running; we figured swimming would be the most visual portion to photograph…especially since it took place in the Hudson River!

So I found out I needed to be to my assignment by 5:50AM as that’s when the swimming portion for the pros was scheduled to begin. Unfortunately when I woke up at 5AM, the weather was rainy, hot, and humidity was at 99% according to the forecast. Yuck. With an oversized umbrella and rain-jacket, I made my way to Riverside Park along the Hudson on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, down to the dock where all the triathletes would soon be exiting the water, and waited. The race had been delayed about 30 minutes. Hurry up and wait. In the rain.

After passing the time under my umbrella, I could finally see the flapping arms and faces of swimmers popping up, down, in, and out of the water. Moments later the pros and elite athletes first approached and stormed out of the choppy, brown Hudson River gasping for air and pulling themselves out or the water, some with the help of lifeguards. Up the ramp and down the dock barefoot they clambered down the bike path where they jumped on their bikes and headed north along the West Side Highway continuing about 24 miles before ending in Central Park with a near 6 mile run. Woah.

It was my first time shooting or even witnessing a triathlon and I was truly amazed at the determination and strength of its competitors. It’s even inspired me to work towards a goal of someday competing in a race like that myself…though we’ll see if that ever happens….

Big congrats to my triathlete/photographer pal Jason DeCrow for completing the course!

8 Aug 2011

Independence Day

My lovely wife Laia Prats and I decided to bypass the crowds last night and climb to the roof of our Upper West Side apartment building to catch the NYC Fireworks. We didn’t expect to see much, but as it turned out, the fireworks cleared the buildings and made for a beautiful show! Enjoy!

Check out Laia’s photos on her Meow Chicken Blog!

5 Jul 2011

Happy Holidays To All!

Happy Holidays Everyone!

I thought it’d be a good time to share some photos from my walk through Central Park during the blizzard last weekend in NYC.


Snow – Blog – Images by Robert Caplin

25 Dec 2009

From The Archives – Uma Thurman


Uma Thurman – Images by Robert Caplin

Due to some Facebook requests, I’m going to bring out my Uma Thurman shoot.

This session was another press junket type situation at the Regency Avenue on Park Ave (Same as Phillip Seymour Hoffman) and for this junket she was making her rounds for her upcoming movie “Accidental Husband”, though I wasn’t shooting her for for that particular movie. As it turned out, I was scheduled directly after the entire day of interviews and photo-shoots for Uma, so she was dead-tired when her day was over and her publicists told her she has just one more shoot with me for the LA Times.

One of the thing’s I’ve learned about shooting celebrities is that time is VERY limited. Often less than 5 minutes and you’re done….this shoot was no exception. For beginners, I was given a hotel room what was literally turned upside-down with couches pushed vertically into the corners and a big round table littered with empty bottles of water and soda. I started with her out in the hallway of the hotel, directly outside the room I was given to photograph. Inside the room, I also had two more portrait situations set up so I could throw Uma in on the fly, if she gave me the time.

Right when Uma was arriving, I could just tell she was worn out and didn’t want to have to have anymore pictures taken. Oh boy…. I literally took a few frames in the hallway and she said:

“Ok, you got it, that’s enough, right?” and started to walk away.

“Actually, we have just a few more set up inside the room!” I interrupted in an excited tone.

I was able to persuade her to continue and enter the discombobulated room I was provided. At this point her hair/makeup stylist, a flamboyant fellow of about 5’5”, kept asking me to show him the photos on the back of my camera. Normally I decline because that leads the actor and the publicists to want to see and approve, but this time I obliged because I wanted the shoot to continue smoothly past 5 frames! It actually turned out to be a benefit because the stylist really liked the photos and he was extremely vocal about it, which cheered Uma up considerably!.

From there I snapped a few I’d prepared earlier at the window and in the corner of the room. I’ve found that getting to the shoot extra early helps me figure out a number of portrait scenarios so I have more than one set-up to choose from in the end. It also gives me time to have lighting in place and ready so the talent only has to step onto the mark.

Here’s a video I took the day of the shoot….it was originally for my grandmother back in Ohio…so excuse the nonsense talk. I cut most of it out! Tiffany Clark was assisting me the day of that shoot:


Uma was happy I only took a matter of minutes to complete her portrait session and took a snap with me!

26 Oct 2009